F-35 Schoolhouse Completes 2,000th Sortie

The F-35 schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla., last week completed its 2,000th training sortie since flight operations commenced there with the Air Force’s F-35A model in March 2012. Marine Corps Maj. Adam Levine, instructor pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 (VMFAT-501), flew the milestone sortie on Aug. 13 in an F-35B variant, according to Eglin’s release. “[This] sortie highlights the accomplishments of the entire F-35 airpower team at Eglin … and moves us one step closer to the aircraft’s initial warfighting capability,” said Col. Todd Canterbury, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, which oversees the schoolhouse. On the following day, the schoolhouse marked another milestone, as Navy Lt. Cdr. Christopher Tabert of Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101) completed the first local sortie with the F-35C version, according to a separate Eglin release. The schoolhouse continues to ramp up training activities, with all 24 of the 58th Fighter Squadron’s F-35As expected to be in place next spring, said base officials. The schoolhouse will eventually operate a fleet of 59 F-35s in all three configurations. (Eglin report by Maj. Karen Roganov) (See also F-35 Schoolhouse Marks 500th Flight.)